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Net Neutrality    On December 14th The Federal Communications Commission voted to dismantle net neutrality, which is a collection of regulations passed to prevent internet carriers from prioritizing specific online services. With net neutrality, all sites and contents are treated equally by the providers carrying the traffic without room for prioritization of any content being carried.    This allows the federal government to regulate the broadband service as if it were a utility. This allows internet service to be regulated the same way that television or phone services are regulated. However, those in favor of the abolishment of net neutrality argue that this is not a bad thing. Utility services tend to be regulated as if they were monopolies, regardless of whether or not there is one, which removes any consumer benefits which would stem from potential competition among broadband providers.    In the past, net neutrality was not considered necessary as the broadband providers were not able to see the content of the sites they were providing to users access to. This model would prevent any form of network prioritization by default. However, over time these networks have changed and developed to overcome various flaws, such as the lack of flexibility when it came to things such as specific requirements that applications displayed on web pages would need to be met in order to run.    More recently new models that are capable of meeting such needs have been created, and these models now allow broadband providers the capability to see the content they are allowing consumers to see. Without net neutrality, these providers have the right to look at the content being carried and determine what they want to be prioritized, and what they do not want to be seen at all.     The decision to enforce net neutrality took place underneath the Obama administration in 2015. This decision was in response to the growing number of people and business which utilize the internet for the majority of their communications. Specifically the reliance on said online communications for small businesses and other less established organizations.    Ajit Pai, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), released a statement defending this repeal as a way to stimulate the economy. “Broadband providers will have more incentive to build networks, especially to underserved areas,” Pai stated. He went on to claim that the rules were unnecessary and that over time removing these restrictions would benefit consumers. Ajit Pai’s Republican commissioners reflected strong agreement with his reasoning as they supported this repeal in a 3-to-2 majority.    Many concerned about the removal of these restrictions is that they will result in a situation contradicting that of Pai’s claims. One major criticism is that, by allowing broadband providers to control which sites and services to prioritize without restraint, there may be censorship based on political views. This criticism stems from the fear that broadband providers could abuse their unrestricted power to censor opposing political views by throttling the speed of sites based on what political views they display.    Another major criticism of this re-appeal is that it will create more difficulty in allowing consumers to access information and other content online as a result of broadband providers being allowed to slow down access to any sites they wish. A similar scenario that critics are concerned about is that consumers may be forced to shell out excess money to access various services. This situation may become a reality in the circumstance that a broadband service provider decides to offer access to sites in bundles while intentionally slowing down the connection rate of websites not included in these bundles.   These fears have been further exacerbated due to questionable behavior surrounding what was initially thought to have been messages of support from civilians of net neutrality. General Eric Schneiderman, a New York attorney, released a public letter addressed towards the FCC where he stated: “In May 2017, researchers and reporters discovered that the FCC’s public comment process was being corrupted by the submission of enormous numbers of fake comments concerning the possible repeal of net neutrality rules.” Schneiderman went on to state that these fake comments used not only fake identities, but the identities of real people in these real comments as well.    Despite being informed of these faux support claims, the FCC chose to not cooperate with the New York Attorney General’s Office in resolving this issue after it was discovered. The FCC simply put up a page on their website allowing people to look up themselves and see if they had their identities used in these false submissions. Despite the evidence that the process did not honestly reflect that of the people it was intended to represent, the commissioners voted as usual without an investigation or solution being looked into first.     Due to concerns about potential abuse of power, as well as a newfound distrust of the FCC’S ability to deal with situations of online misconduct, there has been a large amount of backlash from concerned civilians. There have also been various protests of the re-appeal from across the country. Hundreds of letters opposing the repeal have been sent to representatives about this issue as well, with one of the Democratic commissioners, Mignon Clyburn, made a public appearance while holding two large folders that had been filled to the brim with letters of opposition about dismantling of net neutrality. “They’re not listening to those millions of voices who say we want the net neutrality rules to stay in place. But that should not stop you from weighing in.” Clyburn later stated during an interview.     Despite insistence that the removal of these restrictions will not change much, many are uneased by the potential abuse of power the removal of such restrictions may cause under a more modern form of internet service. The only way to truly tell how much your online experience under this new policy is to see how your broadband provider responds to the situation.Works citedhttps://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-348261A2.pdf https://medium.com/@AGSchneiderman/an-open-letter-to-the-fcc-b867a763850ahttps://www.recode.net/2017/12/14/16777126/read-democrats-fcc-statements-dissent-repealing-net-neutrality-mignon-clyburn-jessica-rosenworcel